Every August, the Grafenwoehr Training Area hosts the German American Volksfest! The three-day festival celebrates the partnership between the military community members of U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria and the host nation communities.
While USAG Bavaria Grafenwoehr is usually closed to the public, anyone is welcome to attend the fest as long as they follow the guidelines and bring proper ID.
What to Do at the German American Volksfest
The Deutsch-Amerikanisches Volkfest is truly a celebration of cultures. You’ll see Americans wearing trachten like dirndl and lederhosen, and Germans wearing American flag shirts and shorts! Regardless of your outfit, be sure to wear comfortable shoes to enjoy as much as possible.
Food and Drinks
From mini donuts to lo mein noodles, there is something for everyone. German food stands serve bratwurst and schnitzel, and you can find pretzels and grilled chicken in the tents.
Pro tip: bring cash. If you’ve lived in Bavaria for a minute, you already know this. Vendors rarely accept card, so bring Euros with you! FRG booths will accept US Dollars as well. There will be an ATM, but don’t rely on withdrawing cash there – the lines are often long, and there’s always a chance it will break.
If you’re looking for American food, stop by one of the Family Readiness Group (FRG) stands – they’ll be the decorated ones! Every year the FRGs serve food to raise money for their unit activities such as breakfasts for the soldiers and BBQs in the park. You can find American classics at their booths like pulled pork, burgers, and even fried Oreos!
You can find wine and cocktail booths scattered throughout the food aisles as well. But we recommend visiting the tents for a beer!
Pro tip: Buy your stein early. Go to the fest early on the first day to claim your commemorative German American Volksfest stein! Every year there’s a different design, but only a limited number of mugs are printed. They’re not available in the tents, but are usually sold near the entrance.
Like any annual fair, you’ll find a variety of rides and games at the German American Volksfest! Ride the swings for a picturesque view of the fest grounds, or hop into a bumper car for some old-fashioned camaraderie.
Pro tip: plan ahead. Don’t rely on your cell phone for communication or directions. Reception will be spotty and no wireless will be available. If you plan to meet up with friends, consider establishing a meet-up point. And look up public transportation schedules in advance!
One of the most popular attractions at the German American Volksfest is the military vehicle display. You can climb into both German and American tanks and helicopters, and take your pictures with them.
Frequently Asked Questions About Attending the German American Volksfest
Every year USAG Bavaria announces updated guidelines before the festival, but we’ve included a few of our own recommendations here, too.
We strongly recommend public transportation. If you have to drive your car, there will be parking available. But if you can avoid it, public transportation will help ease the fest traffic! Plus it means you can drink and get home safely.
And be sure to look up bus times in advance! There will be some shuttle schedules posted throughout the fest, but it’s always a good idea to have a plan. Buses usually run every 15 to 30 minutes, but check the USAG Bavaria website for updated information.
Anyone with a valid government-issued ID can attend the Volkfest! German, American, British, Japanese – as long as you have a valid ID, you can access the festival. But as of May 2020, the German American Volksfest is canceled.
Have you been to the German American Volksfest? Do you have any other suggestions for new visitors? We’d love to read them in the comments!